By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
Baylor baseball will be leaving Bricktown Ballpark empty handed this year as they fell 5-2 to the TCU Horned Frogs in a suspended elimination game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament.
After seven innings on Friday night, the Bears found themselves trailing by three runs, but a rain delay kept their hopes of catching up alive. Game play resumed at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning with redshirt sophomore Daniel Caruso sending the Frogs down in order in the top of the eighth and senior closer Kyle Hill continuing his scoreless inning streak with a 1-2-3 ninth. But Baylor’s offense couldn’t produce, snapping a seven-game win streak against TCU.
Bears pitching coach Jon Strauss said that despite being disappointed by the loss, Baylor is looking “forward to the next chapter” of their postseason.
“I’m proud of our guys. They came out with a lot of energy,” Strauss said. “It just didn’t go our way. Hats off to [TCU]. [Brandon] Williamson was great. They executed and we didn’t, bottom line.”
Redshirt sophomore Jacob Ashkinos took the loss, falling to 2-4 on the season, after allowing six hits and three runs in his start. The Bears’ bullpen consisting of junior relievers Logan Freeman, Luke Boyd and Ryan Leckich allowed three hits and two runs on Friday night, with Boyd giving up the only walk for Baylor. While the Bears threw some quality pitches worthy of a combined 10 strikeouts, TCU managed to make some timely hits and take advantage of a few defensive mistakes on Baylor’s part.
Offensively, the Bears struggled against Horned Frogs starter Brandon Williamson. Both teams had nine hits on the game, but Baylor stranded seven runners on base and suffered nine strikeouts at the hands of Williamson.
TCU struck first with three runs in the top of the third. The Bears answered with a run in the bottom of the inning when sophomore shortstop Nick Loftin led off with a triple and was brought in on a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior catcher Shea Langeliers. TCU extended their lead with runs in the fourth and seventh innings.
Senior second baseman Josh Bissonette drove in his third home run of the year in the seventh to cut the Frogs’ lead to three runs. The California native noted that he wished he could have done it earlier in the game.
“It felt good, but I kind of wished it happened a little bit earlier to set the tone and carry the momentum. I’m just glad I was able to contribute,” Bissonette said.
With the loss Baylor not only said goodbye to Bricktown, but also to their final possibility of being a host for an NCAA regional. Regional host sites will be announced at 8:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, May 26. The Bears will find out where they will be placed when the bracket is announced at 11 a.m. CT on Monday, May 27. The selection show will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Junior third baseman Davis Wendzel said that Baylor continues to feel confident going into the postseason.
“We’re 100 percent confident. All we have to do is win one game at a time,” Wendzel said. “We know with the bats we have and the arms we have, we can beat anyone. So, we’re confident for sure.”